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Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: Oct 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Economic crisis has seriously hit youth. Youth unemployment in Europe is twice as high as unemployment rates for all ages. According to Eurostat’s data, EU-28 unemployment rates for people under 25 years has reached 23.5% in 2013. Greece and Spain’s percentages for the same year peaked at 58.3% and 55.5% respectively, followed by Croatia, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal, while similar situation is reflected still today. At the same time, these figures do not automatically ensure that the amount of employed young people has jobs matching their qualifications or desires. Many times they have to follow a career path distinct from their field of studies as the needs are more market-oriented. At the same time there is a great concern about the number of NEETs youth (not in employment, education or training) which is increasing more and more. In 2008, the share of young people in the NEET group was 13% of the population of those aged 15–24 in the EU28 compared with 15.9% in 2013, while only 4.5% of youth does not want to work unlike to 11.4% who would like to work. It is also known that after a long period of being unemployed, young people often lose their self-confidence, self-esteem, motivation and creativity. Because of this, they are not so interested in participating in the society, they feel ashamed of themselves, they do not socialize anymore with their friends, and they finally become socially excluded. European Union is more than concerned about the youth unemployment problem and there are various initiatives and actions being taken to reinforce youth and battle unemployment. But this is just a start. We, as youth organizations, need to act on local level to ensure that more young unemployed people will be influenced by those EU actions, initiatives and policies. We have to give them again the stimulus and the chance to dream about their lives and design their future the way they want. And at the same time, we should equip them with all the necessary competences which will make them skilful hunters when searching for a job. In this context, the idea of our project “JOB HUNTERS” was born. The aim of this project is to inspire young people to re-enter the labor market after exploring and enhancing their skills and potential. This project will be the starting point that will help them to reconsider their abilities and capacities and inspire them to enter the labor market. The objectives of the project will be the following: • To identify the reasons -other than the economic crisis- of unemployment in different partner countries. For example low self-esteem, inactiveness during the unemployment period, etc. • To exchange opinions on the meaning of the term “work” and its value in our everyday lives; • To explore the connection/relation between labor market and field of study and the social implications derived by this relation; • To identify the strengths and weaknesses of their personality on several sectors; • To develop specific skills (spoken communication, making effective presentations, time management, teamwork, etc.) which will later foster their employability; • To explore self-employability concept with a focus on social entrepreneurship; • To empower youth to (re-)enter the labor market. The project will involve only one activity, a youth exchange which will take place in Cyprus and particularly in 3 locations; Pedoulas, Nicosia, Agros. It will involve 45 participants from the following countries: Cyprus, Italy, Belgium, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Portugal and Greece. The activity will take place between 21-29 of July 2015. The participants of the youth exchange will be young people, aged between 18 and 25 years old who are either unemployed or NEETs. Non-formal education methods will be used throughout the youth exchange as we strongly believe in its power to develop the competences of young people. In this process of learning, there are no teachers and students. The activities are organized according to the needs of the participants while the sharing of experiences in healthy environments of trust and mutual respect is encouraged. Some of the methods used will be group discussion, debates, role games, simulations, ice-breaking activities, team work, etc. Finally, flexibility and variety in the methods used is very important to ensure that all the members of the learning process will be fully included. The project intends to improve their level of the key competences and skills in order to facilitate their entry in labour market. The project will also lead to 2 concrete results: an online publication which will illustrate the obstacles towards youth employability, as well as suggestions/recommendations on how to overcome them. It is expected that these concrete results will inspire and empower more young people to enter the labour market and influence youth related policies on local/national and European level.

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